So, yeah. Tonight's installment of your favorite musically inclined social satire and mine came complete with a theme, and let me tell you this right now: I hate themes.
"Confidence," or (far more often, as it turns out) the staggering lack thereof, runs through each of the disparate storylines this evening, primarily with Will, who experiences a personal crisis of faith in himself when Quinn and Things One and Two quite rightly point out that, as a choreographer, he pretty much sucks. Striving to feel better about himself, he enlists football coach Ken, Sheets And Things drudge Howard, the uniquely attired Sandy Ryerson, and McKinley High's thumbless shop teacher to form Acafellas, and the quintet of middle-aged boy band wannabes quickly finds unlikely success playing to the inebriated in Lima's local watering holes. Needless to say, Will immediately begins neglecting his Glee Club duties as a result, and Operation Just Cause veteran Sue Sylvester comes perilously close to realizing her goal of destroying the club once and for all. Fortunately, Will realizes the error of his ways after a contrived epiphany or two, and returns to McKinley's music room with a reinvigorated zeal and fresh sense of purpose. Or some such bullshit.
Meanwhile, in Will's absence, the glee team hires Dakota Stanley -- erstwhile understudy to the candle in Beauty And The Beast on Broadway and current overpriced show choir choreographer extraordinaire -- to whip them into shape, but after the wee little runt of a Sparky Polastri insults their overall appearance and axes Artie from the lineup for -- get this -- not trying hard enough to walk, Rachel and the others reach an epiphany of their own, and boot the Napoleonic terror in favor of welcoming Mr. Schue back with open arms.
In other news, Mercedes has been whacked upside the head with a potentially fatal case of fruit blindness (potentially fatal for Kurt, that is), my husband Mr. Puckerton gives me at least eight new reasons to love him, Emma wears a number of delightful outfits, and Debra Monk makes it through the entire hour without having to show any of us her bosoms.
Previously on Glee: SQUEEEEEEE!!!
The camera fades up on the sickly looking noodle-and-meat dish currently taking up valuable space on the dinner table Chez Schue, and lingers on the unappetizing mess for one very long moment before panning up to take in renowned Tony-award-winning actress Debra Monk, here playing Will's darling mama, as she slugs back a mouthful of what I'm sure is some desperately needed palate-cleansing cabernet while politely inquiring, "When'd you start cooking, Terri?" "It's just hamburger casserole!" Terri perkily pshaws, before adding, "Look out for bones." And what the hell kind of Sweeney Todd nightmare is in that serving bowl, anyway? Ew! Hee! Ew! Hee! Will's Mother looks as ill as all of you feel right now while her son, typically oblivious, gazes adoringly at his wife before impulsively rising to his feet to announce, "Mom? Dad? Terri's pregnant! It's a boy!" Terri immediately drops her fork in a mad panic while Will's Mother shrieks with joy and Will's Father -- Tony award nominee Victor Garber, don't you know -- squeals something very close to "Yope!" Ma and Pa Schuester are of course overjoyed at the news and rise to hug their son and daughter-in-law, respectively, while Terri's eyes pretty much bug out of her head in horror as she hisses, "Sweetheart! I thought we weren't gonna tell anybody yet!" Will's Father assures her their secret's safe with him, as he spent six months in the Hanoi Hilton and never said a word, and you can insert a tasteless John McCain joke here by yourselves, because I've got to follow along as Terri whisks Will's Mother out of the room to examine the renovations they've completed thus far on the nonexistent impending stranger's new nursery, thereby leaving Will alone with his dad for what I'm sure will be a touching man-to-man heart-to-heart regarding the joys of paternal responsibility, especially after Will's confession last week that his father once burned the family home down after a drunken fight with his mother. Sure enough, Will's Father apologizes for his failings as a parent, but it's just an excuse to give Will his cue to unleash tonight's Secret Word upon the unsuspecting audience's collective behind. "You're not instilling me with a great deal of confidence, here, Dad," Will half-jokes, before admitting to the sleepless nights he's already enduring over the nonexistent impending stranger's non-imminent arrival, and don't feel left out if you missed the screaming this time around, because nearly every single character on this show repeatedly busts out that word or one of its variants during tonight's presentation, so not only will you get many, many more opportunities to participate in the fun, you're also sure to be hoarse by the first goddamned commercial break.
In fact, you get to join in right now! Will's Father admits, "That's my fault, the confidence thing." AAAAAUAUAUAUUUUUAUUUGH. "Boys learn that from their fathers." And as I'm certain Ryan Murphy intended that line as a sly little slam on outdated heterocentric ideas regarding the proper care and rearing of America's male children (no, don't tell me otherwise), I'll be skimming over that particular erroneous sentiment to note that Will's Father proceeds to provide us with a brief autobiography that makes it clear he chose to lead a life of quiet desperation for his family's benefit rather than pursue his dream of attending law school, which he's long since convinced himself was the proper thing to do in the first place, as he never had the "balls" to be a lawyer. You can go ahead and scream at that one if you like, but I'll be saving my voice for overt mentions of The C Word. Anyway, when Will assures his dad that the latter's the smartest guy Will knows, Will's Father replies, "It's not about brains, son. Being a good father -- hell, being a man is all about one thing: Guts, and you've got about six months to figure out if you have any." Are you all done? No, go ahead and let it out. I can wait.
Ready now? Good, because we've cut over to the McKinley High rehearsal room while you were all howling your fool heads off, and Will's in the middle of running the freshly expanded Glee Club through some rather uninspired choreography of his own invention. Rachel, clearly perturbed, soon enough stops even pretending to follow along and, perhaps because she doesn't want to hurt Mr. Schue's feelings yet has no idea how to put anything tactfully, hesitantly calls the proceedings to a halt. "You don't have to ask my permission every time you want to go to the bathroom," Will tells her, barely turning around. "You can just go." "It's not my bladder," Rachel replies, deadly serious. "It's the choreography." "Ooo-kay, what's wrong with the choreography?" Will asks, wrinkling his nose a little bit.
"It sucks!" Quinn replies after a quick wipe that drags us all into the hallway immediately prior to the Glee Club rehearsal we'd been watching. "It's completely unoriginal!" Quinion Number One agrees. (And many thanks to D291173 for providing me with that nickname for Quinn's minions, though apparently Quinion Number One is actually named "Santana Lopez," and Quinion Number Two is, of course, "Britney.") Both Quinn and The Quinion are speaking directly into the camera, for they've cornered Rachel outside of the rehearsal room and are in fact hurling their unsolicited professional opinions directly into Rachel's face. "Aren't you guys gonna get shunned for talking to me?" Rachel asks, hiding just a tiny bit behind her books. "Sweetie," Quinn croons, a dazzling conspiratorial smile suddenly stretching from ear to ear, "we're a team now!" Rachel, for whatever reason, looks like she's buying that crap, and oh, Rachel, but we haven't time to weep over her gullibility right now, because that quick wipe...
...drags us back into present-time rehearsal, where Rachel -- obviously having been fed this solid argument by The Cheerios -- correctly points out, "We can't compete with Vocal Adrenaline with these steps. You're a great vocal coach, but you're not a trained choreographer, and that's what we need to be the best." "We need Dakota Stanley," Rachel smiles, and that quick wipe...
...smears us back into the immediate past again, where Quinn and Santana exposit that Dakota Stanley -- who "was the understudy to the candelabra in Beauty And The Beast on Broadway" -- is not only the best show choir choreographer in the Midwest, but also the legend behind Vocal Adrenaline's repeated success at Regionals, and with another frigging smear it's...
...back to the present, where Will pissily snipes that just because the guy was an understudy doesn't mean he actually understands performance, which gives crafty Quinn the opening she needs to cut him to the quick: "Did you ever perform, Mr. Schuester?" "After high school," she specifies. "Did you even try?"
"I wanted to," Will protests, and we've just leapt ahead in time to later that afternoon in the guidance office, where Emma wears a delightful outfit accessorized with a cunning pair of latex gloves as she scrubs down a potted orchid -- the orchid, naturally, not the pot. Will continues, "I just never had..." "...the guts?" Emma pointedly finishes for him, and knock yourselves out while Emma opines, "They say it takes more certainty than talent to be a star." "I mean," she shrugs, "look at John Stamos." HA! Will babbles about his non-impending non-fathe